FuneralsReadingsNon-Religious Poems and Readings for a Funeral

December 21, 2019Obitia
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It can be difficult for many to find just the right words to communicate and express their love, their loss and their grief at a funeral, which is why reading a poem or a short verse is a common practice during a eulogy, especially in a non-religious funeral.

The following are some beautiful, popular funeral readings that convey comforting sentiments to help us remember and cope with loss. They would be fitting for both non-religious and religious funeral services.

 

“She is Gone (He is Gone)” by David Harkins

You can shed tears that she is gone

Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back

Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

 

“Let Me Go” by Christina Rossetti

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me

I want no rites in a gloom filled room

Why cry for a soul set free?

 

“Remember” by Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you planned:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.

 

“Afterglow” by Helen Lowrie Marshall

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.

I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.

I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,

Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.

 

“Requiem” by Robert Louis Stevenson

Under the wide and starry sky,

Dig the grave and let me lie.

Glad did I live and gladly die,

And I laid me down with a will.

 

“When I’m Gone” by Lyman Hancock

When I come to the end of my journey

And I travel my last weary mile

Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned

And remember only the smile

 

“Continuance” by Samuel Butler

I fall asleep in the full and certain hope

That my slumber shall not be broken;

And that, though I be all-forgetting,

Yet shall I not be all-forgotten,

But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds

Of those I have loved.

 

“Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

 

“But Not Forgotten” by Dorothy Parker

I think, no matter where you stray,

That I shall go with you a way.Though you may wander sweeter lands,

You will not soon forget my hands,Nor yet the way I held my head,

Nor all the tremulous things I said.You still will see me, small and white

And smiling, in the secret night,And feel my arms about you when

The day comes fluttering back again.I think, no matter where you be,You’ll hold me in your memory

And keep my image, there without me,By telling later loves about me.

 

“Our Revels are Now Ended” from The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The could-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep.

 

An extract from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

 

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning, they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Death is Nothing At All by Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before.

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

 

An extract from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,

It seems to me most strange that men should fear;

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come when it will come.

 

An extract from Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember.

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.

 

Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

 

I am Standing Upon the Sea Shore

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,

spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts

for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck

of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,

hull and spar as she was when she left my side.

And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me — not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”

there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices

ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

And that is dying…

Death comes in its own time, in its own way.

Death is as unique as the individual experiencing it.

 

Something Beautiful Remains, Author Unknown

The tide recedes but leaves behind

bright seashells on the sand.

The sun goes down, but gentle

warmth still lingers on the land.

The music stops, and yet it echoes

on in sweet refrains…

For every joy that passes,

something beautiful remains.

 

Loving Memories (Your Gentle Face), Author Unknown

Your gentle face and patient smile

With sadness we recall,

You had a kindly word for each

And died beloved by all.

The voice is mute and stilled the heart

That loved us well and true,

Ah, bitter was the trial to part

From one so good as you.

You are not forgotten loved one

Nor will you ever be,

As long as life and memory last

We will remember thee.

We miss you now, our hearts are sore,

As time goes by, we miss you more.

Your loving smile, your gentle face,

No one can fill your empty place.


 

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